23 September 2012

East Africa: Comesa to Implement Virtual Trade Pilot Project

Addis Ababa — The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat said it is to implement a pilot project on Virtual Trade Facilitation System in the Djibouti Corridor.

Opening COMESA Trade Facilitation (TF) workshop here yesterday, Finance and Economic Development State Minister Ahmed Shide said the project helps enhance regional competitiveness, expand trade, coordinate activities and exchange information.

He said the system enables to track cargo, monitor and control the movement of goods, ensure transparency, efficiency, cost effectiveness and time management.

According to him, the project plays significant role to reduce transport time and cost for local, cross-border and transit traffic and trade along the Djibouti corridor.

The State Minister said the pilot project would create conducive environment for smooth flow of trade transaction between COMESA member states and the rest of the world.

Ahmed said Ethiopia is striving to boost infrastructure development, facilitate trade and reduce import-export costs of doing business as part of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP).

He said the government is exerting utmost effort to TF through development of road, ICT and railway infrastructures taking in to account weak physical and institutional systems as key obstacles to intra-African trade and investment.

COMESA Secretary General Sidiso Ngongna on his part said the pilot project enables to develop competitive, efficient, smooth and speedy system of trade in the Djibouti corridor.

He said the project would be supported by IT and enables to TF between COMESA member countries.

The pilot project will be implemented in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan and South Sudan.

The project has eyed at enhancing TF, competition, efficiency of cross-border trade, observing and controlling procedures that govern the movement of goods across national borders, improving and reducing associated costs and maximizing efficiency and safeguarding legitimate regulatory objectives.

The three-day workshop attracted participants from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan and South Sudan.

Participants from the Ministry of Transport and Communication, Transport Authority, Marine Transport and Logistics Service Enterprise, Customs and Revenue Authority and Maritime Authority, among others, are attending the workshop.

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